App Idea: Developer’s Assistant

Friday, June 18, 2004 2:03 PM

Just the other day I posted about how I come up with (what I think) are great pet projects to work on, but never spend the time to finish them. One that I’d really like to do and finish up is my Family Portal… maybe I can shoot for Christmas as delivery to my family… then again, I did that was last year’s plan. I also started, but abandoned a Digital Photo Studio WinForm app a year ago… too many products out there that do that already.

Well, I have a new project idea… and this is one that I could use right away… specifically for work, but can be for anything. I call it the Developer’s Assistant. What is that? As a developer, I use newsgroups, developer blogs, tech site articles, and other bits and pieces to do research and get the latest and greatest news about my profession. I use Outlook 2003 for email & tasks, OneNote 2003 to take notes for meetings, personal notes, and project ToDo lists, NewsGator to subscribe to blogs, w.Blogger to post blogs (although I am posting this on my 30-day trial of BlogJet), Outlook Express to post/watch USENET posts, and MSDN’s web reader or Google’s web reader to research other USENET posts. Oh, did I forget about the tech articles? I print those with my PDFWriter or MS Office Document Image Writer and stick them in a single folder so I can search with XP. Newsgroups are the biggest source of research and free support for a developer if you ask me. What sucks is when you’re on a network that blocks NNTP.

See where I’m going with this? Frankly, that’s a royal PITA when I need to find something… and I fully expect a TON to fall through the cracks. I want ONE TOOL for this. Now, I don’t want to replace Outlook or OneNote… they have their niche. I’d love an app that would:

  1. downloads USENET newsgroups
  2. downloads RSS/ATOM blog feeds / subscriptions
  3. add full articles or text or code snippets (like a ‘blog this’ option in the systray
  4. categorise anything and everything… with smart categorisation
  5. keyword watches (for content, or by field like watch everything from X person)
  6. specific post watches
  7. automatically download USENET, RSS/ATOM feeds, and optionally EMAIL (with the option to leave on the server)
  8. optional web service communication passthrough (for those systems that block EMAIL or NNTP)
  9. smart NNTP poster (automatically watches all my posts)
  10. WYSIWYG blog poster
  11. notification/remider service: set schedules or reminders on keywords or articles and posts
  12. Solve my personal issue of having all this info tied to a single PC… need a way to say “sync” with a remote server (phase 2)

That’s it for now. It’s something that I’m definitely interested in getting outside help on… need to write a complete feature list though.

Will I ever write this one? Maybe… sure hope so… it would damn sure help with my job.

*** UPDATE: A few months ago, I posted about something similar. Someone emailed me with a post to an app that did something similar… but it was expensive and didn’t do everything I needed… wasn’t much of an upgrade.

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